Your husband’s “nothing box”

Sometimes, men are so hard to understand!  When we first see our husbands at the end of our work day, whether working away from home or inside the home, we LOVE to talk about how the day has gone.  We eagerly await our husband’s arrival so that we can share the details about the children, the crazy thing the neighbors did today, the weird stuff that happened at work, etc.  We LOVE to verbally process the day with our husbands.  But guess what?  Most men are not exactly excited about having a long conversation with their wives as soon as they walk in the door.  They long to spend some time in their “nothing box”.  Huh?

It’s hard for women to understand a man’s need for his “nothing box” because most women don’t even know what one is!  I’ve had a few men explain it to me in two different ways.  It can refer to most men’s uncanny ability to think about absolutely nothing…to completely zone out! It can also refer to a man’s need to have down time where he can veg.  Here’s the basic idea.  After a long day at work, most men need to enjoy either quiet or mindless activity in order to decompress from their day.  This means your husband probably doesn’t want to hear the fascinating details of your day as soon as he walks in the door and he probably doesn’t want to talk about his day either…at least not for a while.

So, give your husband some space when he first walks in the door.  Greet him with a smile and a kiss and then allow him some time in his “nothing box”.    You will become more beautiful to him.  God says this to wives in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…”

What to expect of husband

Revealing what a wife should expect of her husband is a tricky thing!  Yes, we should expect our husbands to love us, and even to sacrifice their interests for ours.  The Bible says so.  It’s in Ephesians 5, in case you want to look it up for yourself 🙂  It says in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

The tricky thing is that no husband can perfectly live up to that expectation.  Therein lies the challenge.  As wives, we yearn for a perfect husband who cherishes us, adores us, romances us, sacrifices himself for us, shares his feelings with us, courageously protects us, diligently provides for us, tenderly raises children with us, spiritually leads us, and on and on.  Whew! That’s a long list!  Frankly, only Jesus could hit the mark on all those expectations, and guess what?  Your husband isn’t Jesus.

So, back to the original question.  What should we expect of our husbands?  I believe we should expect our husbands to strive to be the kind of husband described in Ephesians 5:25, while at the same time we need to realize that he will fall short of that mark because he’s human.  That’s where we need to take on the character of Christ ourselves, striving to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8)

He needs to be your hero

Did you know most men really like to be needed?  I know.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.  Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to get them to follow through on a task you asked them to handle.  But you know what?  Sometimes we pick inopportune times to ask.  Often we don’t have their full attention, or we mention the task along with five other things we discussed.  Remember, men don’t think the same way women do!  They usually focus on only one thing at a time.

Anyway, back to the “being needed” thing. 🙂 Surveys show most men really do want to be your hero. I believe it’s a way they feel respected, and we know that respect is so important for a man that God actually commands wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33!  

This means our men want to lift a box that is kind of heavy for us.  They want to fix the leaky faucet and impress you with their “fix-it” skills.   They want to figure out a solution to your overloaded schedule problem.  They want to be our heroes.  The problem is this.  We often try to tackle everything ourselves….or when we do ask them to help with something, we either ask at a bad time, or we throw in the request amid a whole bunch of other “talk”. 

Let’s try this week to ask for our husband’s help with something…at a convenient time, very clearly, and simply.  Then let’s show appreciation when he follows through.  I bet he will love being your hero.

Have your husband read this!

99.9 percent of my Bible-based insights are designed to help women personally and in their marriages. But I know that many husbands also read these messages, so I want to take a moment to give you an important insight about the woman in your life!  Ladies, if you’re the one reading this, perhaps you can tell your husband that I’m asking him to read this as well. 😊

God tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  And later, in verses 28-29, God says “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church”.

So, God is calling you to love your wife in a self-sacrificing way…and to cherish her.  Please allow me to explain 3 key things that virtually every wife needs from you to feel loved and cherished:

  1. She longs to feel beautiful.  That means she needs you to notice her hair, her make-up, her outfit and tell her how beautiful she is…that she looks amazing today.  It also means that if she finds out you’ve been looking at pornography, she is deeply scarred.  The unspoken message she receives is that she is NOT attractive enough, that she doesn’t measure up, that every time you want to make love, you’re envisioning being with another woman who you view as more beautiful than her. That’s why I’m begging you to get help if you’re addicted to pornography.  Every time you look at porn, you’re slicing your wife’s heart.
  2. Every woman craves security. We’re just wired that way. She longs to feel financially secure and relationally-secure.  That’s why she gets freaked out when you talk about quitting your job or spending money on a new S-U-V.  She desperately needs to feel secure. 
  3. She needs you to be loving and gentle and involved with her children (whether those kids are your bio kids or step kids).  Nothing will break a wife’s heart quicker than to witness her husband being harsh or disrespectful or critical with her children.  That doesn’t mean that you need to be a push-over who doesn’t discipline the children, but she needs you to do so with love.  She needs to know that you deeply care about her children.

Body image matters

We all know that women are greatly concerned about their body image….maybe even obsessed about it!  But did you know that men are also hyper-sensitive about one aspect of their body image?  Almost every man really wants to be perceived as strong and muscular.  This means your husband yearns for you to notice and appreciate his muscles!  He’s not going to tell you that, but he really wants to be perceived as strong!

Perhaps this is why the bride in the Bible’s Song of Songs continues to tell her groom over and over again how she values his strength and muscular body.  Here are some examples of what she tells him:  Song of Songs 2:8-9 “Behold, he comes, leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.”   Song of Songs 5:14-15 “His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.”

When’s the last time you verbally admired your husband’s strength?  When is the last time you noticed his biceps and made a little comment about how impressive they are?  Your husband craves those comments!  As you vocalize your appreciation for his physical strength, he will be drawn to you!

Strive for this kind of pride

Normally, pride isn’t a very good thing. In fact, God tells us over and over again throughout His Word that we need to get rid of pride.  I think we’ve all heard the Bible verse “Pride goeth before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

But here’s the thing.  I believe God is talking about getting rid of pride in ourselves.   He doesn’t want us to be puffed up and arrogant.  God wants us to attract people to Him through our humility.   However, I don’t see any place in Scripture where God tells us to avoid telling our loved ones that we are proud of them.  That kind of “pride” isn’t arrogant.  It’s extremely encouraging to the recipient! 

In fact, telling your husband “I’m proud of you” can move your husband out of paralyzing insecurity into confident, positive action.  When you say, “You’re a good man”, or “you have a good heart”, or I’m so proud to be your wife”, you are speaking words of life to your husband.  He longs to hear those words.  It’s time we stopped focusing only on what’s wrong with our husbands, and looked for some things that we can honestly affirm.  Our men need our encouragement!

This hit home for me a couple of years ago in my marriage to Raul.  My husband took the time to tell me that he felt tremendously encouraged when I would occasionally pop into his home office and tell him I’m proud to be his wife.  That tiny little statement built him up.  It helped him press back into the challenges that awaited him.  It helped him feel like he could slay dragons.  His wife was proud of him.  She believed in him.  He had the courage and confidence to keep moving forward.  Your words are powerful!  Have you told your man that you’re proud of him lately?  Are you speaking those essential words to your husband?

Consider Proverbs 14:1  A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands a foolish woman tears hers down.  Are you building up your husband, and thereby, building up your marriage and family?  Or are you tearing down your husband and demolishing your home?  Something to ponder!

What to expect of Christian husband

Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands.  In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband?  Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.

Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands.  It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Wow!  That’s a pretty high standard!  Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church.   My husband Raul was pretty amazing but he still had some flaws, and I bet your husband isn’t perfect either.  However, the Christian husband should be seeking to become more like Jesus every day.  This means a husband should look out for the best interest of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!

That being said, NO Christian husband is as perfect as Jesus!  Don’t expect your husband to model Christ’s behavior every single minute of every single day.  Your husband is human, and he WILL make mistakes.  He will stumble in his attempt to display godly behavior each day.  So be thankful if you see him at least trying to follow and obey the Lord, even though he will fall short at times.  As believers, we should ALL be seeking to honor and obey the Lord each day.

What husband needs to feel loved

You’ve probably heard of the “Five Love Languages”.  It’s something Christian author and psychologist Gary Chapman figured out about how people are wired in terms of receiving love.  The love languages are:  words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and gifts.  Well, here’s something I’ve learned after talking with many wives whose husbands have completed the love language assessment.  Almost all men have “physical touch” as one of their top 2 love languages.

Ladies, this means your husband craves not just sex, but little signs of physical affection throughout the day.  When you do these small things, he feels loved by you.  So, why wouldn’t you give him the physical affection that you know would bless him?  By purposely withholding what he needs to feel loved, could it be that we’re actually sinning?  Listen to what God says in James 4:17: “If anyone knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  Oh my.

Here are several ideas on how you can communicate love through physical touch.  Reach out to hold his hand as you walk through the store.  Give him a 20 second neck and shoulder rub as you’re walking by.  Pinch his tush as he walks through the kitchen.  Lean over his shoulder while he’s on the computer and give him a kiss.  Rest your hand on his leg while you’re sitting together on the couch watching TV.  Run your fingers through his hair.  These small acts of physical touch are totally easy and yet they mean so much to most husbands. Try it!

The perfect gift for a man

The perfect gift for your husband…whether it’s Christmas, father’s day, his birthday or your anniversary….is super inexpensive.  Give him the gift of respect!  The Bible makes it clear that a wife is to respect her husband.  This instruction is found in Ephesians 5:33 which simply says “the wife must respect her husband”, and most wives know that a man craves his wife’s respect.  However, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to communicate that respect.   It’s especially difficult if your husband isn’t perfect!  We naturally gravitate to focusing on what’s wrong with our men as opposed to what’s right.

I’m not saying we should ignore a husband’s blatant sin or destructive patterns.  We definitely need to pray about confronting disrespectful, destructive, or immoral patterns of behavior.  However, we can’t ONLY focus on his areas of weakness.  Our men need to know that we believe in them.  They need to know that we notice their strengths too!

A simple way to communicate respect is to voice appreciation for the big and small things your husband does for you and your family.  Does he go to work each day?  Tell him how much you appreciate his hard work.  Does he set aside some time each day to play with the kids?  Let him know how much you appreciate that.  Does he refrain from stopping at the bar on the way home from work?  Tell him how much you appreciate that he comes straight home to his family.  A great gift you can give to your husband is your daily appreciation for all he does, and to affirm things that he actually does right!  It’s a sign of respect.

Little things that draw his heart

You want a quick and easy way to show respect to your husband and improve your marriage?  Just notice a few small things your husband seems to appreciate and then…..do them!  What a concept!  I mean, why wouldn’t a wife want to please her husband?  Why wouldn’t a wife want to be kind and thoughtful?  Colossians 3:12 tells us “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  So, if you could do just a couple things differently, in a way that your husband prefers, why wouldn’t you extend that kindness to him?

Let me give you some examples.  My husband always insisted that if we loaded the dishwasher in a certain way, it cleaned the silverware better.  (I didn’t think it made any difference!).  But, I did it the way he liked…because it pleased him.  I knew my husband loved it when I left a little note of encouragement for him on the kitchen counter at least once a week.  So I intentionally did that every week.  I knew my husband really appreciated a clean kitchen counter, so I tried to keep the counters tidy. Why wouldn’t I want to please him in such a small way?  I’m not saying a wife should have no opinion and should simply be a doormat for her husband.  But I think God would be pleased if we stopped only thinking of ourselves and started thinking a little more about blessing others…in this case, your husband!

How about you?  Could you intentionally take note of a few things your husband really appreciates, and then actually do some of those things?  It would make him feel respected.  It would draw his heart to you. It would likely improve your marriage.  Sometimes, it’s the little things…